During my time in clinical, there are definitely some challenges in the nursing community that I have noticed. These challenges are lack of nurses, the lack of compassion towards patients, and the attitude that some nurses have towards student nurses.
During my time at one facility, nurses were constantly being asked if they wanted to pick up extra shifts. They seemed to be very short staffed, which was also evident in the fact that most nurses had up to 6 patients to care for during their shift. Due to this high patient to nurse ratio, there are many negative effects. As stated by The Truth About Nursing, “When nurses are forced to work with high nurse-to-patient ratios, patients die, get infections, get injured, or get sent home too soon without adequate education about how to take care of their illness or injury” (2016). This leads into my next point, in that nurses are losing their compassion towards patients. I had one patient who was in excruciating pain, but my nurse and the case manager labeled her as ‘just wanting drugs’, even though this patient had hardly any history of being in the hospital. The patient was hysterical, and it was making me upset in that no one was wanting to care for her. When my nurse was looking in the patient’s files to see if the surgeon was ready to discharge her, the surgeon said that he had met with the patient and that she was ready to go home. The patient denied ever meeting with the surgeon, but yet my nurse refused to call the surgeon and clarify as she did not want to disturb him. This upset me a lot, because she failed to advocate for her patient.
During my clinical, I have also had some nurses clearly be angry at the fact that they had a student for the day. One morning, I approached the nurse I was supposed to be shadowing and when I told her I was her student for the day she said, “Ugh no. I’m way too busy for that”. It was upsetting, but I just found my clinical instructor and told her the predicament. I have also had nurses who expected me to do things, even though they were failing to do the tasks themselves. It has been clear to me that nurses in today’s society do not want to work with nursing students, and their attitudes are very clear of that. According to Mueller, Naragon, & Smith state that, “staff nurses have the ability to make a significant impact on nursing students’ learning experience” (2016). This is why it is crucial for nurses to be open to having students. When I am a nurse, my experiences will remind me to be open to students.
These challenges are affecting health care constantly, and eventually these will cause major problems for facilities as people will not want to attend certain hospitals due to their reputation of their nursing staff. It is important to remember that not all nurses are the same, and not all facilities are the same. Each facility focuses on specific guidelines that they have in place for their staff. I will have to adapt to challenges in a timely manner, because health care is constantly changing. It is important to take constructive criticism as it comes, and to learn from my mistakes as well as the faults of others.
There are a few ways that these problems can be addressed. First, dealing with the lack of nurses, I believe that the only way that facilities can work with this issue is by advertising positions at their facilities and being open to accepting new graduates.
As I furthered my research regarding this topic, I found that the enrollment in nursing programs has been declining for five years. Also, there are issues in our institutions because there isn’t enough faculty to teach those who are interested in the field of nursing. I feel as though this is prevalent issue at Grand Canyon University due to the fact that so many students apply to the program, yet many students are turned down due to the fact that there isn’t enough spots for them in the program (which is correlated with the few nursing professors available). Many colleges are now doing something where they are donating money to nursing programs at school to allow for more spots to be opened (Nevidjon, Erickson, 2001).
When dealing with the lack of compassion towards patients, the best way that facilities can deal with this issue is by running programs in their facility to promote positive patient outcomes. Things such as patient ratings on nurses and the facility is a great way for nurse leaders at the facility to see if their nurses are doing a good job. Another way that facilities can deal with this program is by not overworking their nurses. Nurse burnout is a big cause of why nurses stop enjoying their profession. This overworking relates to the fact that there is a nursing shortage, so many hospitals are short staffed. As stated by Cornwell & Goodrich, “It is the presence or absence of compassion that often marks the lasting and vivid memories patients and family members retain about the overall experience of care in hospital and other settings” (2009). As student nurses, we must remember that there is an art behind nursing that must not be forgotten.
During my clinical experience, I had some nurses who clearly did not want to work with me because I am a student. I believe that the best way for facilities to deal with this is to communicate with their staff about the responsibility those nurses play in teaching and educating us on real life situations. I think that facilities should communicate with their staff if they will be receiving a student that day, as it seems like many nurses are unaware many times of their duty to proctor a student during their shift.
Nevidjon, B., Erickson, J. (2001). The nursing shortage: solutions for the short and long term. Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ThePracticeofProfessionalNursing/workforce/NursingShortage/Resources/NursingShortageSolutions.html
Cornwell, J., Goodrich, J. (2009) Exploring how to enable compassionate care in hospital to improve patient experience. Retrieved from https://www.nursingtimes.net/exploring-how-to-enable-compassionate-care-in-hospital-to-improve-patient-experience/5000526.article
The Truth About Nursing. (2016). What happens to patients when nurses are short-staffed or work with a high nurse-to-patient ratio? Retrieved from http://www.truthaboutnursing.org/faq/short-staffed.html
Mueller, S. A., Naragon, R. M., & Smith, R. R. (2016). The Relationship Between Nursing Students’ Perceptions of Staff Nurses’ Attitudes Towards Them and Self-Efficacy in Sophomore-and Senior-Level Nursing Students.